Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday 11th September
Well that’s Limassol. The british influence is everywhere except for the shopping. It was just like many of the other ports, old windy streets with heaps of souvenir shops but probably more bargains. We took the shuttle bus into the town area and wandered along some of those narrow streets. The traffic seems to travel one way up each street and on the correct side of the road for a change. Late morning, we sat in one of the tavernas and had coffee and then a beer with another couple from the cruise and people watched for a while. Then we did some more shops before having lunch and a bottle of what we thought would be local red (turned out to be French) at another tavern called “Alo Alo”. The pace here seems rather laid back and they all speak English. There were some tours which went further afield but since I will have an 11 hour tour tomorrow in Egypt we didn’t even consider a tour today. The GD is going to have a lazy day on his own as he has seen the pyramids before. The buses on tour tomorrow will travel in convoy and I’m led to believe we will have armed guards escorting us. Will talk to you again at the Suez.

Hi Nessa,
Yes your emails are coming thru & also the photo's - poor Oscar looks terrible with that haircut - hope he is getting better.Glad that boys are enjoying that sport.
Today we are in Egypt & am sending off a postcard for the boys.It has been stinking hot in the last few ports & today is no different.We are going to have a look around the town for a little bit then head to the beach with Jayne & Warren. We were undecided as to wether to do a tour but after seeing all the tour buses & how late they were in leaving (8.30am instead of 7am) we are glad that we did not as also the trip there & back is 3hrs+. We will probably be late in leaving port tonight.We had an absolutely fabulous time in Rhodes & that made up for the other hiccups. It was such a beautiful city & where we docked was the old town which had a fortress all the way around & the streets were very narrow & cobbledstoned. You MUST email with suggestions for the boys & that info for the watch as we will be in India soon & I can probably pick up some good bargains for the boys there. Also would James like some historical books on Egypt etc.Thats all for nowLove you heaps.PS - have a good time on your holiday.Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday 8th – Wednesday 9th September
Well, what an experience Istanbul was! We arrived in a heavy thunder storm early in the morning but due to the fact that the port is very busy and you have to wait your turn to dock, we were very late docking. When in Rome (in this case Turkey) you do as the Romans do. As a result of our late arrival all tours had to be adjusted to suite. We hadn’t booked as we have chosen to take a tour of our choice on stand by. That way, when armed with as much information as the tour lecturer gives we can decide shortly before a tour if we want to take it or do our own thing. At one stage we thought we might miss out in Istanbul but our luck held out and we got on one which was supposed to leave about 7.30 but it was more like 11.30 when we left. This three and a half hour tour lasted about 6 hours. This wasn’t because we saw any more that the tour indicated, it just meant we spent a hell of a lot of time stuck in traffic. We thought Naples was bad but Istanbul takes the cake, even worse than we have found in KL on a visit there. The place is full of tour busses, public busses and trams, people pulling barrows and private cars all wanting their share of the many narrow roads. We really admires the skill of the drivers as you see very few cars with dings in them. The bus drivers could go where, I’m sure none of our local drivers, would dare to go. What did we see? We crossed over the Bospourus (spelling?) from the European continent into the Asian continent to a coffee stop with a view from a very high hill overlooking all of Istanbul. We then came back and crossed the Golden Horn ( a natural waterway) into Old Istanbul, past the ancient aquaduct and a new dig where they were planning to put a station for the new unfinished underground system. In this dig they found (I think) 7 wooden ships in an ancient harbour so the station will be on hold for quite some time. Then we drove slowly past the Blue Mosque (not part of our tour) and on to a carpet factory outlet and enjoyed an apple tea while they showed us their wares and then to the Grand Bazaar. We were allowed about an hour at the Bazaar but didn’t see much of it. We were afraid we may get lost in there as it is huge and all under cover, so we stuck to the centre alley.
We met our tour guide outside at a designated location and then walked to St Sophia built in the year 300 and is under restoration. It took only 7 years to build with slave labour. It has been used for both a Christian church and a Mosque. The inside is all marble. Considering this area gets earthquakes regularly it is amazing that it is still standing in such good condition. There is too much to tell you about this church in this page but it’s worth looking into it’s history. We then had another 15 minute walk to get our bus and back to the ship. We missed lunch and did more walking than expected but it was a great tour. The GD managed to smuggle himself a bread roll out for his lunch. If he hadn’t he would have been in serious trouble.

Wednesday: I woke this morning with the aftermath of all our walking with a very sore knee – old Arthur playing up! Hope it improves for Rhodes tomorrow. We sailed into Anzac Cove this morning and there were two services held on the open deck, one at sunrise and another at 11am. We attended the very moving 11am service. We were only able to get within a mile of the beach but the monument was clearly visible and by blowing up our photos you could make out the white crosses. The sun came out just long enough for the service. Then the clouds moved in again and it has become quite cool.
There’s two more ports and then the Suez if all goes according to plan.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sunday – Monday 7th September
We landed in Pireus (port for Athens) about 3pm, about 9 hours later than our original scheduled arrival. Greece excelled itself and although many morning tours were cancelled, they did a great job of accommodating passengers on alternative tours. The last one back was a little after 8pm. The GD and I took an easy tour of Athens and although we didn’t climb up the Acropolis to the Parthenon our tour did take us to the foot of the mountain where we got some pretty good shots of the Parthenon. We were also able to wander around the area of the Temple of Zeus and other ruins. After the tour, we were catered for with coffee and cake at the Park Hotel. Our tour got us back to the ship about 7.15pm.
Monday: We woke up in a bay at Mykonos in brilliant sunshine. It was a relief to have a much cooler day than we’d experienced in many of the other stops. What a delightful place – certainly one that will stand out in the memory banks. The wind had picked up while we were on shore and it was a rocky ride back to the ship on the tenders. We left Mykonos about 2pm and are now headed for Instanbul but not sure what time we will arrive there with the switch around of ports, due to our lost time.